I'm truly surprised that so many critics applauded Adventureland, but not in the least surprised that it opened at #6 with $6 mil. No, not because Fast and Furious came in at #1 with $72 mil--no doubt encouraging producers to make four more--but because it wasn't really that amazing.
The New York Times heralded the 80s coming-of-age rom-com even though it acknowledged that it tells a story that's already been told. But my main quarrel with it is actually that there really wasn't a story worth telling. A broken-hearted, recent college graduate (Jesse Eisenberg from Cursed and The Education of Charlie Banks) rebounds with a self-loathing, rich girl (Kristen Stewart from Twilight) he meets while working at a theme park, and after a lot of relationship ups-and-downs and a little self-discovery...you can pretty much guess the rest. Predictable and pointless. Honestly, the best part of the film--besides Jesse Eisenberg's impeccable comic timing and Margarita Levieva's (The Invisible and "Vanished") hilarious portrayal of a vapid 80s Catholic tart--was the lovable pessimism of Martin Starr's (Knocked Up) dorky fatalist. He's not exactly the Hollywood definition of a leading man, as aren't many pasty and/or scrawny actors (Paul Dano, Chris Marquette, etc.), but he's due for something a little bigger than playing second fiddle to a lame summer romance.
The critically unloved romantic dramedy Gigantic, starring Dano and Zooey Deschanel, opened in only one theater and made $10,500. However, I'd suggest you watch that instead of watching Adventureland. The rest of the top 10 were shoved down one to make room for car porn mania. Monsters vs. Aliens slid to #2, amassing an incredible $106 mil after two weeks. The horror flick The Haunting in Conneticut hasn't been booted just yet, at #3 with $37 mil. Nicholas Cage's surprise hit, the scifi disaster film Knowing, took #4 wtih $58 mil after three weeks. The number one comedy, I, Love You Man, came in at #5 with $49 mil. The unfairly neglected rom-com, spy thriller Duplicity has fallen to #7 in its third week with $32 mil, which is pretty poor for a Julia Roberts film. Race to Witch Mountain somewhat disappoints at #8 with only $58 mil after a month in the top 10. The last two spots go to the action underdog 12 Rounds with $9 mil and the female-driven indie Sunshine Cleaning, which hopped up one spot, with close to $5 mil.
Liam Neeson's thriller Taken finally retired after ten weeks with $139 mil. Joining him were the semi-successful Last House on the Left with $31 mil and Watchmen with $105 mil (after only five weeks). Luckily, for Zack Snyder, it made enough overseas to cover the $150 mil budget.
Next weekend, Fast and Furious will go toe-to-toe with none other than Miley Cyrus, when her feature film debut, Hannah Montana: The Movie, hits theaters. Seth Rogen will retest his commercial appeal when he fights off the Paul Blart: Mall Cop comparisons and stands by his darkly humorous portrayal of second-rate security in Observe and Report. Comic book and Japanese cartoon-lovers everywhere will determine Justin Chatwin's future as a leading man when they decide whether Dragonball Evolution is worth their time or blog space. My money, for the #1 spot, goes on the Disney diva. They'll come out in droves. Why? Because their brothers and boyfriends will just sneak in to see Dragonball, as will everyone else who doesn't want to waste a buck (or twelve).